27 Apr Follow the Wolf
Named for the maned wolves that roam the hills above the farm, Fazenda do Lobo sits at 1050m above sea level in Brazil’s famous coffee growing region of Sul de Minas. The nearby town of Três Corações is famous as the birthplace of national football legend Pele and you can’t miss an enormous statue of the player as you turn off the freeway and head up the red earth roads into the fertile coffee lands above the town.
Owned by the Foresti family, Fazenda do Lobo was established in 1996 by Andrea, a fourth generation coffee producer and her husband Marcos, an agronomist. The entire family’s intricate involvement in the running of the farm and their obvious dedication to quality and processing are abundantly evident. On our arrival, I found Andrea kneeling in the middle of the drying patios below the farmhouse taking careful moisture measurements of the coffee cherries. Guilherme, one of the family’s three grown up sons greeted us warmly alongside the farm’s friendly Brazilian terrier (something of a feature in these parts it seems).
The laid back farmhouse scene was completed by a flower filled verandah, complete with a hammock and a parked up motorbike, all overlooking a pretty lawn bordered by a row of palm trees.
We piled into the open back of an old pick up and Guilherme drove us up to see the planted fields of coffee. Lobo is Rainforest Alliance certified and toucans and other birdlife are abundant on the farm. There are a lot of trees here (hence the birdlife) providing shade and a sanctuary for wildlife and it was great to see that the farm also provides regular shelters and rest stations for their employees. A farm that takes care of its workers is definitely one that we are happy to do business with.
Unlike many other coffee producing nations where teams of workers hand pick the coffee cherries, Picking coffee in Brazil is usually mechanised and in the case of Lobo they harvest much of the crop using a tractor with a stripping machine attached in which rotating and vibrating rods knock the cherries loose. A system of plates and pipes then catches them and transfers them to a holding bin. The cherries are later sorted down at the farm to remove any under ripes, sticks, stones and other foreign objects.
Back at the farmhouse we were treated to some good old fashioned Brazilian hospitality with heaped platefuls of beans and rice and cold cans of Guarana. I even managed a quick game of pool with Guilherme on their outdoor table and Marcos showed us photos of the pack of maned wolves that are frequent visitors to the farm.
Lobo has 286 hectares of coffee under cultivation with the main varieties being red and yellow catuai and mondo novo. They produce both natural and pulped natural processed coffee and true to their constantly innovating style, a couple of years ago the farm also introduced a system of raised drying beds.
Fazenda do Lobo produces some outstanding coffees and we are thrilled to have formed a close relationship with this farm and the lovely Foresti family and look forward to partnering with them year on year.